Growth Hormone Injections

28 Mar

I started having daily genotropin injections when I was five.

To ‘train’ themselves to give injections to me, their daughter, my parents were told to inject a needle (but not inject any of the expensive growth hormone drug!) into an orange.

I’m still not sure to this day that injecting an orange can be anything like injecting another human, but this is what they were told to do!  Soon enough though, they had to brave it, and inject me.  Luckily, I am not and never have been, afraid of needles, so the experience wasn’t as traumatic as it may have been for other children – but that isn’t to say I enjoyed it! Every evening, the drug, needle and injection pen would be removed from the fridge, I would have to bare my thigh (though it could have been my stomach, if I had preferred) and either my Mum or Dad would inject me with the daily dose of the hormone drug.  Every. Single. Evening. For ten years. Such an inconvenience when I had other things I would rather be doing! Yet, I am still very pleased my parents made the decision to give me these injections, as they didn’t have to -and not all doctors believed at the time that the injections would make a difference to my growth rate, or final adult height.  In my mind, it can’t have done any harm – so it was worth a few seconds of pain each evening, just in case it had an impact and improved my growth.

However, I have quite recently done a little research of my own into growth hormone injections for children with PSACH and whether they are recommended, 15 years on… and no, no they aren’t.  Apparently now it is believed that these hormone injections will have little to no effect, as children with the condition are not lacking in growth hormones themselves, but have a different build to most children due to genes alone.  I have read somewhere (but of course now I wanted to reference it, I can’t find the paper I read it in!) that these hormone injections can actually have a negative effect on growth. Do I believe that? No I don’t.  I am a ‘tall’ (for someone with Pseudoachondroplasia anyway… but I like being able to use the term ‘tall’ about myself!) 137cm, so clearly the injections haven’t had an adverse effect on me! And well, if I was asked whether I’d recommend to parents of a child who has PSACH to give their son or daughter the injections? Yes I would.  It isn’t possible to 100% prove in any case whether growth hormone injections have made a difference to growth, as you can never see what the alternative may have been – so in my eyes, I don’t see the harm in trying! 🙂

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